Hong Kong: the decolonization that never happened

Gregory B Lee, Patrick Poon

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


In this brief article, we attempt to demonstrate how a historic compromise between British colonial power and an affluent local Chinese social class created fertile ground for the emergence of another “Chineseness”, different to and separate from the Chineseness of mainland China, or that of the Nationalists who fled to Taiwan in 1949. This historical condition we name “Late colonialism”. The British state’s attempt to mold its own homegrown and manageable Chinese identity, would however be gradually adapted and transformed by the local population into a vibrant cultural and social identity of their own. It is this culture, this social reality that is now being attacked and dismantled by a local, now entirely puppet, government acting on behalf of the People’s Republic of China’s regnant authorities.
First, we shall resume the nature and the brief history of the struggle between Hong Kong’s increasingly politicized population and the central Chinese authorities whose bidding has been exercised by its local agent, the Hong Kong Government, now responsible for administering a form of neo-colonialism that bears not only the traces of British colonial authoritarianism, but all the hallmarks of China’s very own totalitarian procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationPostcolonial Politics
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2021


  • Hong Kong
  • China
  • Postcolonial identity
  • Decolonization
  • UK
  • Colonialism


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